CAR troubles can be a major inconvenience and always happen when you don't have time to address them.
Jeanette Campbell's story is typical. However, she received roadside assistance courtesy of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA).
"I was heading out to work at 7:00 am and my car wouldn't start. I called two mechanics that I know and neither of them was close enough to respond," said Campbell, an educator.
After half-an-hour of waiting, and wondering how she would get to work at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, Campbell remembered that she had recently joined the JAA, and could benefit from its Roadside Assistance Service.
"I called them, and in about 10 minutes a roadside assistance technician from the JAA was at my house. He was very creative in manoeuvring his vehicle to jump-start my car, and in five minutes I was on my way," she declared.
The JAA responds to an average of 170 roadside assistance calls per month; and the majority are usually for motor vehicle failure that occurs at the most inconvenient times for the motorist.
According to Duane Ellis, general manager of the JAA: "Roadside assistance technicians are trained to respond to a host of emergencies, which may arise as motorists go about their daily activities."
He said the technicians were trained technical logistics coordinators. "They can undertake tasks, ranging from changing a tyre to providing on-scene motor accident support; administering first aid; conducting accident investigations, and laying the foundation to prepare insurance claims," Ellis pointed out.
As coordinators, they manage every aspect of a road emergency. They assess security concerns on the spot; coordinate transportation of a disabled vehicle to repair centres; facilitate medical assistance; and diagnose electrical and mechanical problems.
JAA roadside assistance technicians are required to be Certified Vehicle Entry Specialists and Certified Light Duty Towing and Recovery Specialists. They are also trained in accident investigations, competent in writing accurate and precise reports, document accident scenes using photography; and must be certified to provide basic first aid and CPR, where necessary.
Ellis said that all JAA technicians are licensed drivers and competent in operating all standard forms of land transportation, including motor cycles.
As a service standard, the JAA's roadside assistance team has a 40- minute window within which to respond to all calls from the toll-free emergency line at 1-888-CALL-JAA.
Ellis further explained that the role of the roadside assistance technician continues to evolve and will inevitably result in the formation of "a team of first responders with the technical skills and ability to handle a wider range of emergency situations in the interest of the JAA's clients and our nation."